A new kind of ransomware forces you to play PUBG to unlock your files

"Ransomware" is malicious software that works basically like a computer virus, except that instead of destroying your data, it locks it down until you pay whatever ransom the creators decide to extort. The WCry ransomware unleashed last year, for instance, spread quickly and caused particular grief amongst hospitals in the UK, leading to wards being closed and patients turned away. Not all such attacks are quite so malicious, however. 

Case in point: The PUBG Ransomware discovered by MalwareHunterTeam (via Bleeping Computer), which encrypts all your files, including images, music, and documents, and refuses to release them unless and until you play Playerunknown's Battlegrounds for an hour. 

"Your files is encrypted by PUBG Ransomware! but don't worry! It is not hard to unlock it," the virtual hostage note says. "I don't want money! Just play PUBG 1Hours!" 

It's not terribly malicious as ransomware goes: For one thing, it turns out that you only need to run the PUBG executable for a few seconds to trigger the decryption, not the full hour, so just firing it up is enough to set yourself free. And if you don't want to be bothered at all (or just can't do it for some reason), the popup window also provides a "restore code" that will unlock your stuff. 

It seems to be more of a joke than anything else, then, (although I suppose we could all end up suffering for that "just-a-joke" complacency in six months when the real trojan, buried deeper in the code than anyone bothered to look, blows up in our faces) but even so I most definitely would not recommend that you intentionally infect your PC so you can see what it's like—even if you're a die-hard PUBG fan.   

Thanks, Kotaku

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.